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December was such a busy month that I didn’t notice it passing so quickly. Today is the last day and soon a new year will unfold. And I have almost forgotten to post about my enchanting trip to Kobe Luminarie.

Kobe Luminarie is held every December in which illuminations are built in memory of the Great Hanshin Earthquake which struck Hyogo Prefecture on January 1995. I was still young back then so I didn’t know such a disaster happened in Japan. It must have been very hard during that time in Kobe. But now they have largely recovered and that is very good.

There was a huge crowd of people as expected. Saying it ‘huge’ in this post is actually an understatement. Because it’s so huge and large-scale that they have to slowly direct all these people to the illumination site so there were a lot of walking and detours.

It was really a spectacular sight. Though I must be frank, illuminations are still grander in the Philippines.

And so for the reflections of this past year..

I remember back then, I said during last year’s December that I will definitely have a different Christmas next year.  And sure enough it happened. I received many blessings, so many that sometimes I can’t contain my happiness to myself. I am very thankful. I was taking my master’s program from the University of the Philippines during the almost first half of this year, and then I transferred during the second half  at Kyoto University.

It was just dream before, going and studying to Kyoto. I didn’t know it could be possible. It’s all thanks to my sensei, he was so kind to accept me in his lab even though my background is different from their research interests. And the lab members are also kind to me, friendly and helpful. And I should note that I am their first and only international student.

I think the most important lesson I learned this year is to believe and to have courage. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here today.  I am just so glad. I hope this coming year will also be a blessed one for me. Let’s do our best! 頑張りまあしょう!

Happy New Year! あけましておめでとう


Kapok, also known as Ceiba pentandra, are very tall and imposing trees. The very old ones especially tower the small buildings with their astonishing height. Around summer (or spring rather), they release and fill the air with cotton-like fibers. They grow new leaves soon after their fruiting season.

I noticed some pretty flowers growing along the pathway in the place I am currently working at. It has a bright pink shade and looking very attractive among the greens. Attracted, I took some shots but they didn’t come out fine. So I practiced my editing skills with Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Since I have a pastime of browsing through pictures taken by such amazing photographers in Flickr, I got the hang and ideas of what looks good and what does not. So here is the result. I think it is much better than the original shot. I should really equip myself with a better camera.

At first, the thought of college graduation was too much of an idea to sink well in my head. Why, I’ve been studying for almost 16 years of my life! But anyway, it doesn’t matter. I plan (not just dream) of getting a Ph.D. So, I still have a very long way to go.

I was offered a “summer job” in a laboratory by helping out in a certain project. Had I wanted, I could have started the day right after my graduation. But I asked for one week of rest so that I can do a little bit of career planning and contemplation. And it was a good decision. I was able to confirm my resolve in doing graduate studies and research. My mind was always filled with college student’s worries back then that I wasn’t able to think a lot of my future career. So I used this one week in searching for information about scholarships abroad (hopefully).

So I am currently working on microorganisms, in short, microbes. I like the different colors of the media we use to culture them, prescribed according to their needs and how we can identify them. I also like working in the laboratory. The neatness, cleanliness and orderliness are very much accentuated.

By the way, the picture shown above is an XLD agar positive with Salmonella sp. Pretty, isn’t it? However, it’s pathogenic consequences isn’t as pretty as it looks.

We had a field trip one time in my archaeology course to the Santa Ana Church, also known as Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Manila. It is a church built and dedicated to Our Lady. That reminds me, yesterday was Mother’s Day. I greet Our Lady a blessed Mother’s Day!

I was told that there were some significant archaeological remains discovered in the church: skeletal and material remains of people dating back to pre-Spanish period. It turns out that the land on which the church was built and beyond was a pre-Spanish cemetery. Nice!

For starters, I took photos of the exterior and interior of the church. The retablo was said to be original and very antique. Of course, the featured imahe is the Our Lady of the Abandoned, above the tabernacle. There was also a room full of statues of saints for devotees. Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, my patron saint, was there too.

Looks like the parish also has a site. Visit it here.

My friends and I dined out in UP Town Center months ago during the most stressful moments of our college life. We chose to eat in Ryu Ramen & Curry since we like eating and discovering Japanese food. And besides, we heard some positive reviews about it.

And so we entered the restaurant. We were the only customers that time since it was an odd afternoon hour. My friends were on a tight budget so they ordered katsudon, gyoza and fried rice. Meanwhile, I was able to save some money for this dine-out so I ordered their best-seller ramen, Tantanmen.

It was good although I’d say that miso ramen is my least favorite among the ramen versions (shio and shoyu). The taste reminds me of laksa from Singapore. I like the spicy kick though. Maybe next time, I will order the shoyu version. Still, we did not enjoy our dine-out as much as we did in Suzu Kin. We felt that they’re food are overpriced. And so that ends out Japanese food trip to Ryu Ramen & Curry. Next time, we’ll try the Little Tokyo in Makati!


The time has come once again for the narra trees to bloom. Their inflorescences are deep yellow and tiny  which are easily carried by the wind, causing a carpet of yellow flowers to form under these majestic trees. Moreover, they release a certain kind of sweet scent. And it’s a beautiful sight to see. I think  this would be the perfect Philippine version of cherry blossoms in Japan.

These narra trees seem to bloom only during the end of February to March. I know hardly about them so I cannot really tell. Still, they always reminds me of the upcoming summer vacation. And while I was walking towards class and I saw some trees already shedding some flowers, I suddenly remembered the memories of summer last year.

Halimuyak ng mga bulaklak ng narra,
Akay-akay ng maalinsangang hangin,
Tangayin nawa ang masayang ala-ala,
Noong unang nabuo ang isang hangarin.

Rough translation:
Sweet scent of narra flowers,
Drifted by the warm summer wind,
May it take along with it the happy memory,
When the first wish was born.